Owning a cat is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Here are some practical tips on how to go about it.
Just The Facts
- Despite the myths perpetuated by the cat media, cats are not "clean animals".
- Purring stops being cute when it's being done right next to your ear at 3 in the morning.
- Everyone should have a cat.
Cats can be obtained from many sources. Be assured that no matter which source you choose, someone will look down on you. Here are a list of cat providers and who will look down on you for using each one.
Source: Pet Store
Who Will Yell At You? Pretty much everyone except the pet store owner. Pet store cats generally come from kitten mills, and are raised in terrible conditions with little care given to their health or well-being. Buying from pet stores puts money into the kitten mills and keeps them going. While it's true that cats are malicious creatures and deserve to be tormented, they should only be tormented by a caring owner who can craft individual torments tailored to the cats' worst fears, not by a faceless factory farming system.
Pictured: A kitten mill. As you can see, quality control is shoddy at best.
Source: "Free Kitten" Ad / Friends
Who Will Yell At You? Cat people (cat rescuers, humane societies) aren't really fond of this method either. New kittens created by cat owners' refusal to disrupt the operation of cat genitals are displacing existing cats already in need of a home. Also, shelters and rescues make sure their kittens get their rounds of vaccinations and spaying/neutering and FIV/FLV checks before they leave to seek their fortune, and worry that home-bred kittens will miss out on some of this.
Source: Animal Shelter
Who Will Yell At You? This causes a lot less yelling, but some people feel that an animal shelter cat may be a handful for first-time cat owners. Shelter animals sometimes have terrible pasts that cause them to be what you might call "at risk," but if you know what you are getting into and are willing to enter them into after-school programs and offer tough love and monitor their homework every night, you could make it work and also get a Stand and Deliver vibe.
Shelter cats from bad backgrounds are prone to self-destructive behavior.
Source: Animal Rescue
Who Will Yell At You? Why the hell would anyone yell at someone for adopting a cat from a rescue? There are people out there that for some reason or another have a vendetta against animal rescues and claim they are only in it to make a profit, since they charge adoption fees. However, taking a shelter cat and picking up the bill for its food and shelter and all its medical problems as well as its routine vaccinations and neutering in the hope of making a profit with a $100 adoption fee is one of the stupidest business models anyone could come up with.
Choosing A Cat
This is just making the choice between whether the cat already hates you now or will hate you later. Also, not all cat hatred is the same. It can range from passive aggressive hatred to spastic surly hatred. There's no way to know how a kitten will develop, so if you're set on one kind of personality, like you really want a passive aggressive cat, the only guarantee is to get an adult.
Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to becoming a mature adult cat.
You also have a choice of cat color. The least chosen color is black. Why do people hate black cats? Because they're racists. Pick a black cat.
Male cats have the foulest smelling pee of any pet animal. Spayed females will get saggy boobs. If you've had their genitals cut off like a responsible cat owner, none of the other differences matter much. If you want some slyly referential jokes about the differences between males and females that are based on human gender stereotypes you will have to insert them yourself. This is a respectable website.
While it is hilarious to watch a cat suffer, cat diseases can not only torment the cat itself but can also spread to other animals and even yourself. A healthy cat is a cat that does not give you parasites or invite lawsuits from other animal owners.
Cats should be vaccinated against rabies and some diseases with long names. The best thing about vaccinations is that they make kittens sleepy for a while afterwards so you can finally get some peace for a moment.
Cat Leukemia / Cat AIDS
Cats can get FLV (cat leukemia) and FIV (cat AIDS). These are incurable and nobody has come up with an awareness month or a Cat AIDS Walk (couldn't keep cats going in same direction) so chances are they will stay that way. You should make sure your cat gets tested. Show it some brochures if it's refusing to go.
"If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone."
Fleas / Ticks
Cats are great nesting grounds for fleas and ticks. Some kind of flea preventative/flea killer is a must. Some popular flea preventatives are Frontline, Advantage, Revolution, and the cleansing flames of purifying fire.
The problem with claws is that cats have them. Unfortunately they are entitled to them by their Second Amendment rights so declawing will probably send you to the Supreme Court. Seriously, declawing is a very controversial topic that we will bravely sidestep by giving you some tips on how to stop cats from clawing things.
You will need:
- A scratching post.
- A can of compressed air used for cleaning computers.
A cat owner's best friend.
This is complex, so pay attention. Encourage your cat to scratch (1) the scratching post, possibly rubbing catnip on it. When your cat tries to scratch something it shouldn't, like the Mona Lisa, spray it with (2) the can of compressed air. This will stop it from scratching and also scare the living daylights out of the cat, which is an excellent bonus.
Trimming the claws regularly also keeps them blunt which is good for when the cat decides to climb Mount You. While having its nails trimmed, the cat may scream like it is dying, which is just inexcusable whining. Unless you have cut the quick (blood vessel) in which case it is you who are the asshole.
It doesn't take much training to get cats to go in the litter box (Step 1: Show cats litter box. Done.) which can lull you into thinking this isn't an area you need to worry about.
The truth is that while cats will generally do their business in the litter box without incident, the aftermath isn't always so pretty. Many cats, especially when young, do not fully grasp the concept of burying their work and may try creative variants such as stepping in it, burying a completely unsoiled adjacent patch of litter, or pawing retardedly at the side of the litterbox.
Even if the burying is done well, cats generally leave the box with some litter on their paws. Some make attempts to clean it off, some couldn't care less, but in all cases there will be litter all over your house soon enough.
Pictured: The excavation at Pompeii, a classic case of what happens when cat litter tracking goes unchecked.
Foul Stench of Hell
Cat waste is one of the worst smelling substances known to man. A concentrated male cat pee litter clump can knock out an elephant. Anyone recommending a "green" and "environmentally friendly" cat litter like recycled newspaper pellets that doesn't contain any odor control can go straight to hell. Pine-based litters and wonderful environment-killing chemical-soaked litters are a couple of good odor-control options.